This is a lengthy post but PTSD is too important for it to be shortened….please read and understand…..for too long people have looked down on suffers….this is a disease that we have caused because of our countless wars and the task we ask our troops to do.
We as a country have no problem sending our young to war……it is when they return home and are in the grips of PTSD that we have NO idea what to do.
Perhaps only ancient Sparta claimed to support its military more than the United States. From the “soldiers get priority boarding” ritual that happens only in American airports, to elections where a decision not to serve is forever held against a candidate, there are daily reminders that “the troops” are a presence in our society like few others.
The desire to claim a piece of that presence leads to elaborate lies, known as “stolen valor.” People buy regulation uniforms and walk through society showing off medals, telling fake war stories, and accepting unearned thanks. They want the juice without having endured the squeeze. They are out there this Veteran’s Day, and they are to be loathed.
We as a nation need to educate ourselves on PTSD and the whole nation can become part of the solution instead of part of the problem as it is now.
“PTSD is going to color everything you write,” came the warning from a stepmother of a Marine, a woman who keeps track of such things. That was in 2005, when post-traumatic stress disorder, a.k.a. PTSD, wasn’t getting much attention, but soon it was pretty much all anyone wrote about. Story upon story about the damage done to our guys in uniform — drinking, divorce, depression, destitution — a laundry list of miseries and victimhood. When it comes to veterans, it seems like the only response we can imagine is to feel sorry for them.
Victim is one of the two roles we allow our soldiers and veterans (the other is, of course, hero), but most don’t have PTSD, and this isn’t one of those stories.
A personal story from a father whose son survived war but not PTSD…….
When my son Ricky was in sixth or seventh grade, I got a call from the principal’s office. They said I needed to pick him up because he was covered in mud and couldn’t return to class like that. I thought, Okay, that’s kind of weird. Ricky never got into trouble. Normally when you get a call like that your kid did something, but no, mine was just dirty. My brother picked him up (I couldn’t leave work at the time) and said the dirt was so caked on, Ricky had to ride home in the back of his truck. It had rained the day before and, as it turns out, my son had decided to roll down a hill behind the school. He wasn’t aiming for the mud puddle at the bottom but there it was. When I got home and asked why he would do such a thing, he replied, “Because it was funny.” I couldn’t fault him because it was funny. That’s the kind of person my son was before he deployed to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army — he would do anything to make people laugh.
Another first hand account about dealing with PTSD and the mental anguish that will accompany the disease……
I don’t go out to parties very much anymore. I can’t remember the last time I was at a party where there was lots of alcohol or drugs, because I know for a fact using either of them would be bad for me. Not because they are illegal, necessarily, but because it wouldn’t be good for me. They would put me in a bad place.
I was never medicated for post-traumatic stress disorder, but I did go through a lot of therapy. I still go back occasionally if I’m in a bad place.
I joined the US army in 2005 and served until 2012. I went from second lieutenant to first lieutenant and then from first lieutenant to captain.
The more we know about PTSD the more we can help those in need as they reach out for our help….please help when you can….our vets deserve a country that is willing to help when they are in need.
A simple thank you is not enough.